Sunday, August 28, 2011

Strength 101

Here at CFP we can be a bit mysterious at times.  Don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s us.  We don’t always communicate well.  Since we’ve been getting some questions about our strength programming I thought “hey, wouldn’t it be weird if I actually talked about training on the blog?”.  Yeah, it would be weird and I like to get weird at times. So today, I’m going to give you a very basic breakdown of the strength portion of our programing.

Essentially, we’re working off a slightly modified version of Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 program.  For those who don’t know, Jim Wendler is a successful power lifter who developed the 5-3-1 method.  Each lift is performed once per week on 4 separate days.  For us this means Deadlift Monday, Cleans Tuesday, Squat/Press Thursday and Snatch Friday.  We will alternate between 4 Strength days one week & 3 the next. Because Crossfit has us mastering many skills, we must not neglect practicing the others. There will still be Strength at medium to light loads popping up in our conditioning portion of sessions. The waves refer to the load and volume we perform.  In wave one, also known as the “5″ week, we do 5 reps of a lift at 75% of a 1RM, 5 at 80% and then as many reps as possible at 85% of our old 1RM.

Moving on, wave two is the “3″ week, we lift 3 reps at 80%, 3 at 85% and max reps at 90% of our 1RM.  Wave three is the “1″ week, 1 rep at 85%, 1 at 90% and max reps at 95% of our 1RM.  The fourth wave is a “de load” week.  Wendler goes with lighter weights as a sort of reset.  We instead use this week as a chance to work on other lifts.  This creates a natural de load by changing up the type of lifts without sacrificing a week at sub maximal loads.  From here, we will go through another cycle of 5, 3 and 1 weeks and then on the 8th week or second time through all 4 waves we will retest our 1RMs.  Please post any questions or constructive criticism to comments and remember,2012 is around the corner.  Get strong while you can if you want to survive the apocalypse.


  1. Thanks, I appreciate this. It's nice to know it's all thought out and planned - not that I ever doubted you, lol.

  2. just googled your boy Jim Wendler... 1000lbs squat in competition??? what an animal!

    but i do have a question; a fleeting comment jody made to me recently was to the effect of, the quickest way to get stronger is to put weight on, would you suggest changing up your diet in any way to further capitalize on this period of programming?

  3. Good question Banksy. CrossFit as with Oly lifting or even the various fighting type sports (MMA, Boxing etc) require an athlete to be as light as possible whilst still maintaining maximal strength. This period would be a good time to "experiment" for sure. But be aware, weight increase alone won't gaurantee strength increase. As we see all the time, the King & Queen of "Grace" isn't necessarily Royalty in the land of "Cindy"

  4. coach during the lead up to the open we were doing medium to high rep strength. I felt this helped improve my metcon times. i know that was a different cycle but is it possible to incorporate this into the strength cycle. without comprimising the objective of the 5-3-1.

  5. Thanks HEAPS for this info - definitely helps me plan out my week of training.

  6. Certainly is Dan. The Open was unique in as much as I was confident of the type of demand the WODs would consist. We knew they would be predominately light-medium basic movements. They wanted the "Open" to be as inclusive as possible.
    During this cycle you will find us incorporating exactly what your suggesting. Keep an eye out after next week 